March 17, 2020

To our Westlake Academy Family,

These are trying times for our community - from the need of our parents to ensure the safety of their family, to working with our health officials to help diminish the spread of the virus, to what our educational pathways will be during this time – we appreciate your continued patience and words of encouragement. 
We will work together to address your concerns and communicate what we can do as a community. As part of those efforts, I will routinely update you on action plans that are being developed by our staff team.

What we have done: 
For the past few weeks, your municipal staff have been receiving updates on Covid-19 through our emergency management team and we have been in discussions with our state officials to obtain recommendations regarding school operations. Once those recommendations were released, we made the announcement that the school would remain closed after spring break for two (2) weeks.

Throughout spring break, we were also working with our educational administrative staff to identify the path forward in the event we needed to close the campus past our initial week of vacation. On Friday, we spent some time calling a portion of our teaching and support staff members to answer any of their questions relative to the closure. The academic leadership team was also on-hand yesterday to finalize their in-person planning discussions. They will now work remotely and continue the design work on our distance learning opportunities. 

We have also received the following information, made decisions or completed these items:

  • Our facilities team has had the campus deep cleaned, along with the high-touch areas, during spring break week. This is part of our standard operations for this time of year; however, we will be repeating this step along with any other recommended cleaning options in the coming weeks. 
  • Camp Jolt for G3 has been cancelled. 
  • Prom has been postponed and we are in the process of rescheduling.
  • Parent/student/teacher conferences have been cancelled for the spring semester and will not be rescheduled. 
  • We have extended the due date for grades from our teaching staff and we will notify parents as soon as practical. 
  • Governor Abbott announced that STAAR/EOC testing has been cancelled for this school year. 
  • IB (and AP) exams are currently scheduled as planned. If we receive information that changes the dates, we will share that with you.

What we will be doing:
While you may not see staff on campus, we want to convey that we are still actively working on behalf of your children. We are working from remote locations and collaborating with each other to share information on the following items:

  • The academic leadership team has a short-term and long-term list of items to address and we will share this information soon. 
  • Teachers and support staff will be offered staggered times to retrieve any materials or technology they need during this closure. 
  • Distance learning options are being discussed and finalized. 
  • We are working on a date/time for students to retrieve anything they may need from campus. This will be communicated to you soon. 
  • The campus is being deep cleaned later this week and we are in discussions with our vendor about further cleaning prior to our reopening the campus. 
  • We are working with TEA to determine what the remainder of the school year will consist of along with any make-up days or extended year options they may ask us to implement. At this time, we do not have a definitive answer on this issue. 
  • We will be in discussion with the International Baccalaureate Organization to determine what recommendations they may have to schools in the United States. As mentioned previously, they have not moved the IB testing date.
  • SAT testing dates have been postponed. 
  • Phone trees are being activated to allow us to communicate with teaching and support staff. 
  • Dedicated web pages are being developed to allow for centralized posting of information. We will also communicate our plans and any relevant updates to you via our social media outlets, direct emails, and phone message when appropriate. 

State and Local Officials 
We are on daily conference calls with a variety of experts and oversight agencies regarding their recommendations to us as a school and municipality. We routinely have conference calls with the Tarrant County Health officials and Judge Whitley, the Tarrant County Judge who declared a state of emergency for our region last Friday afternoon. I am also on a daily conference call with Commissioner Morath from the Texas Education Agency. We have over 1,200 school districts in the state working together to help keep the students safe and follow the guidelines we receive to enact distance learning plans. 

We are living and educating in extraordinary times and we hope and pray for the health of your family as our country comes together in the face of our national health emergency. While I may not have answered all of your questions with this update, I will be working closely with our academic leadership teams to provide you with the latest information as soon as we can.  

We appreciate all of the information you have shared with us, the emails and phone calls of support, and your patience as we all navigate the coming weeks. I am privileged to be a part of working with our governing board, our Academy families, the amazing academic and municipal teams we have in place for our community and am grateful for the sense of family we all share. 

Please let me know if I can be of help to you in any way.

Respectfully,

Amanda DeGan 
Westlake Academy Superintendent/Town Manager  

*Coronavirus Resources/Web Links: